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I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.


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Sunday 21 March 2010
These are some of the questions which have come in. Blurbs. How do you make it easy? It’s been pointed out to me that whereas I make it sound easy to write a blurb, for most people it is hard. My fault and I apologies I should have given you an exercise which I found helped. Write your blurb using no more than 100 words. Cut the 100 words to 50. 50 to thirty. 30 to 25 – hey presto, it works! When can I call myself a writer? Oddly I was asked this by a follower of this blog just as the same question appeared on the RNA forum, Romna - this is what I replied to the forum. “You write you are writers – it’s as simple as that. I think the confusion comes because we can all write – fill in a form, make a shopping list, write a letter etc. But to set out to write a novel sets us apart immediately. Things to remember: Not everyone wants to write a novel – but you do. Not everyone can write a novel – but you do. How many times have you heard “If only I had the time I’d write . . .” - you find the time, they don’t because they are NOT writers.” The author, Anna Jacobs added an interesting point when she said that the as yet unpublished should refer to themselves as writers and when published they were authors which, I thought was a neat distinction. There was something else she reminded us of too. That to the true writer the writing becomes an addiction. This is true, when I first started I found that I could not go on holiday without fretting for my computer and the novel I was working on. How do you get into the next book? Is it just a matter of writing more to get into it? The one thing people don’t realise is that authors tend to have too many plans for books in their heads all trying to get out. Kind souls offer me ideas for plots but I have no need of them and usually suggest they write it themselves. And one has to be careful – if you use someone’s worked out plot what is to stop them suing you? Better not. What happens with me is that when I’m about two thirds of the way through a book then a theme or an idea, like a train that has been waiting at the signals, puffs into the station. As the one I am writing steams out the new one is in place. (Oddly they are always trains to me and steam, not boring diesel!) And, with so many ideas the problem is living long enough to write them! Several times my publishers asked me if I cared to write a book about a certain subject, Clare’s War, On Call, Tales from Sarson Magna were all suggested by them. If I liked their ideas then I would do them, but I was once asked if I would write about horse racing and I turned it down since it was not something I was interested in. Accepting their suggestion then, like all my other books, I hang around waiting for a character to appear to set the plot in motion. Then I try to forget it. While finishing the work in hand I can’t afford to concentrate on this new one, but if odd ideas come I will make a note of them – you think you’ll remember but you never do. But subconsciously it is bubbling away and building. Keep the questions coming, please.


  1. I'm definately going to go and do this blurb exercise. I'm sure it'll be a great help.

    I always think that because I'm unpublished, I can't call myself a writer, but having read your post, I feel that maybe now I can.

  2. Thanks Annie, for the blurb exercise and the writerly advice.

  3. I wrote what I thought might be the start of a synopsis. The shortened version I blogged about to get feedback, and an editor told me it was a blurb, a good one. I was rather pleased. I used yWriter. I now have the courage to call myself a writer. When folk as me what I do, I reply I am a writer, rather than an ex nurse trying to write. :)
    Interesting post, thanks for the tips.